No signs of recession in this data. The weekly rail traffic has been incredibly consistent in recent months with low single digit readings in carloads and intermodal traffic. It’s certainly not indicative of a booming economy, but it’s also not indicative of a shrinking economy. AAR has this week’s details:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported gains in weekly rail traffic, with U.S. railroads originating 265,304 carloads for the week ending Nov. 26, 2011, up 4 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 190,866 trailers and containers, up 3.7 percent compared with the same week last year.
Ten of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2010, including: motor vehicles and equipment, up 42 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 30.3 percent, and petroleum products, up 28.4 percent. The groups showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included: farm products excluding grain, down 18.1 percent, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 10.8 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 1.8 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 5.3 percent compared with the same week in 2010.
For the first 47 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,710,056 carloads, up 1.8 percent from the same point last year, and 10,775,044 trailers and containers, up 5.1 percent from last year.”